While chronic use of any drug can lead to dependence, heroin addiction is a particularly serious habit to battle. The drug quickly impairs the user’s physical, mental, and psychological well-being, and can bring serious medical consequences with prolonged use.
The Addictive Brain
The use of heroin initially produces a feeling of euphoria, a pervasive sense of well-being in which all problems, pain, and anxiety melt away. For troubled individuals seeking pleasure or escape, a heroin high may seem the answer to all of life’s problems. Users often report a sense of warmth and safety, a calm dream-like state that provides a respite from their otherwise bleak lives.
Heroin provides a quick fix for those with emotional problems, people from disadvantaged lifestyles, or individuals who have survived trauma. Users quickly develop a tolerance for the drug, requiring larger quantities at more regular intervals to produce the same result. If the drug is not procured, withdrawal symptoms occur, and this chronic, relapsing state and constant use of the drug literally produces molecular changes in the user’s brain that affect his lifestyle and behavior.
A family problem
The threat of contracting an infectious disease, the possibility of overdose, and the worry over the user’s health and safety take a serious toll on family members and friends. Medical consequences can include liver disease, heart failure, collapsed veins, and respiratory problems, which can impact a user and his family well into the future.
If the addict is a parent, the family’s economic security can quickly spiral downward. Life savings, college funds, and even children’s piggy banks will be raided to feed the user’s habit. The social and economic impact of being addicted to heroin can be extreme, with users often turning to crime to finance their next fix.
A loved one’s addiction can stir up feelings of guilt and shame among family members, which can be a roadblock to obtaining help. A strong support system is crucial to help an addicted individual reach and maintain sobriety. The family needs to educate themselves on the drug and its impact and to forge a comprehensive plan for treatment and recovery.
Going for heroin treatment in Malibu California or anywhere convenient for both patients and their loved ones is a good plan.
When the newly-sober family member returns home after treatment, it is important that a healthy drug-free living environment is maintained to decrease the likelihood of relapse. Reducing stress in the home will further support the loved one and aid the healing process. As the effects of addiction can ripple through a family long after their loved one is sober, counseling and support services may be beneficial during this difficult time.
A life-threatening disease with extreme physical and social consequences, heroin addiction is nevertheless a battle that, with the right treatment options and family support, can ultimately be won.